Sofia C. Pereira

Candid Tuesdays with Sofia - It’s more than okay to ask for what you need (including money!)


I adore what I do, and although I am convinced that I provide an extremely valuable service, I still struggle to talk to my clients about payment and money. And I am not alone, as the frustration that comes from feeling that personal needs are not being met comes up again and again in my client meets. Even if, as happens most of the time, these have not been clearly communicated.


Our needs are many. We all need space, time, understanding, forgiveness, love, and unfortunately and very importantly, money. For most of us, clearly and comfortably asking for what you need often takes serious inner mental work as well as persistent practice. And, I would dare to say that being able to verbalize our basic needs is as essential for our health as is rest, food, and exercise. Thus, the decision to write this piece – to help you feel good about asking for what you need from those in your life as well as saying no without feeling bad.


Our society has a cultural neurosis with money, and depending on your culture or family upbringing, there is usually some discomfort associated with talking about money. The truth is that a lot of the fear associated with asking for money has nothing to do with money but rather is due to fear of asking for anything at all. Therefore, although this post will focus on our need for money and therefore our right to ask for it, the lessons are applicable to other needs as well.


Here are some tips to help you own your needs and set limits around them:


    1.   Recognize that you have needs, know your worth, and live it. Time wasted in unhappy moments takes away from productive time. When it comes to money, freebies take away from pay time – so make sure how much you are worth is clear for all parties involved.


    2.   Set expectations with those around you. Regarding money, have a clear view on pricing, time, and objectives. If you do offer a service or have clients, clearly state how much time you will be available for the job and how much it is worth. I find it very helpful to send potential clients a written document with all the information before talking about fees.


    3.   Change your mindset. Do not let your dislike of asking for money be an obstacle to your own development. If your needs are not met, you will not be able to continue to do what you do. Nor will you be able to invest in your own growth and learning. Remember that getting paid fairly is what allows others to gain from your services. Moreover, when you ask people to invest in your work you are asking them to invest in their own work.


    4.   Believe in yourself – don’t set up yourself for failure by not believing in your worth and your needs for money/time/etc.


    5.   Practice, practice, practice - It won’t be easy, and it will take time, but you will get there. Start shifting your relationship with meeting your needs now.


Just to end things off, I would like to bring forth the idea of how feeling comfortable saying no to someone is very much a part of asking for what we need. I think these two are inter-related, as they are about learning how to manage a giving personality, learning how to set and maintain personal limits, and getting your needs met so that you can give and still be your best. So the next time you feel like you are stuck and unable to bring up your needs (including saying no), remember these tips and just do it – for your health!

Sofia C. Pereira

Sofia’s candid Tuesday column


Since the beginning of my practice as a health coach a few years ago, I have written many blogs, released a seasonal newsletter enjoyed by hundreds of readers, published a book with raving reviews (now in its second edition), had many articles published in Thrive Global, hosted nutrition workshops, and coached many clients. However, looking back critically, the timing regularity of my health coach related writing has completely lacked in consistency.


This year I intend to start a weekly blog dealing with issues that I think are important for health and wellbeing – candid Tuesday talks. Since health is multi-factorial, these will approach various topics including food, love, sleep, exercise, creativity, ageing, and of course, they will always take into account the latest science on health and wellness. Keep in touch for next Tuesday’s post – Developing the skills to ask for what you need.

Sofia C. Pereira

Tips to sleep tight at night

There is no doubt that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best, regardless of age. It is during this nightly sleep that our brains best clean up the  junk accumulated from daily processing, our muscles best recuperate and grow, and our minds have time to assimilate and integrate what they have learnt throughout the day.

However, as wonderful as a good night's sleep sounds, it is not always easy to get a good night's sleep. Whether because of anxiety, stress, or simply because you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep, there is nothing more frustrating than tossing and turning for hours without being able to fall asleep. 

From my readings in the scientific literature, hormones play a big part in our sleep patterns/disturbances. This is obvious by the frequent night sweats in women in menopause, or the sleep disturbances in the elderly, who produce less melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle. 

One thing is sure - sleep is important! Thank goodness that there are a various small practical tips that can help get a good night sleep. Two key actions are daily aerobic activity (more than three hours before bedtime) and daily exposure to sunlight

When and if you do wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep, try to stay calm and meditate so as to empty your mind. If that doesn't work, getting frustrated and angry is not the right way to go, as it will just wake you up more. Some experts suggest getting up and sitting in the dark for a little while, others suggest doing mindfulness exercises. Try different approaches to see what works for you.


There are many tips of practical steps for a restful night, such as the ones outlined in WebMD:

stick to a regular bedtime. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Your body will get used to the routine.Take a warm bath. When you get out of the tub, the drop in body temperature may help you feel tired. It can also help you relax and slow down, so you’re more ready to go to bed.

Take time to calm down before you turn out the lights. Turn off your electronic devices and TV an hour before bed. You can read a book, listen to music -- whatever helps you unwind.

Make the bedroom a sleep zone. If you're still awake 20 minutes after you hit the sack, get up. Get back in bed only when you feel tired enough. Train yourself to think of the bed as a place for sleeping only.

Avoid afternoon naps. If you sleep during the day, you're more likely to stay awake at night.

Don't drink alcohol close to bedtime. Even small amounts can make it harder to stay asleep. It can make you wake up in the middle of the night when the effects of the booze have worn off.

Drink less fluids at night. Trips to the bathroom break up your sleep.

Wear yourself out. Exercise at regular times each day, but not within 3 hours of your bedtime.

Get some sun. Make an effort to get outside in the sunlight each day. It'll let your body know when it’s time to be awake, and when it’s not. Fifteen to twenty minutes of sun a day without sunscreen is okay, but more don't forget to use protection for longer exposure times.


If you do have sleep issues, try these tips and see what works for you. Be patient and consistent in your actions - do not expect results overnight (no pun intended). In the end, it is what we do most of the time that counts. And so, I wish you all many nights of a great night's sleep!